By Michael Jurus
For some seniors here at Youngstown State University, the close of this semester will be the beginning of bigger and better things. With graduation approaching, seniors are preparing for the ceremony and reflecting on their time during college.
Senior Taylor Parrish is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering. Graduation can be an emotional day for many, but Parrish said she is excited about commencement approaching.
“I feel a sense of relief and excitement as graduation is approaching. Our class has been through several challenges with COVID being the biggest setback, so to be able to hold a ceremony and move on to the next chapter of our lives is a breath of fresh air,” Parrish said.
Senior Cassidy Lyons, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, said it will be difficult to be away from the friends she has made.
“I will miss seeing some of my friends from college. I will also miss the college atmosphere and having some free time that goes along with it. I will also miss working at my on-campus job in Kilcawley Center at The Cove,” Lyons said.
From her time in college, Parrish will fondly recall a number of things, including living with her two best friends.
“I am going to miss a number of things about college including my Campus Rec job … the women’s club soccer team and my engineering family. What I am going to miss the most is living with my two best friends,” Parrish said. “I truly don’t know what I am going to do without seeing them every day. Shoutout to Gina Morrison and Lauren Kaminski.”
But — with the knowledge they have acquired during their time in college — they will be moving on to new experiences once starting their careers. Parrish said she will be working full time, utilizing her degree.
“After graduation, I will be working full time as a systems engineer with RoviSys, which is a control system integrator and product development company,” Parrish said.
Lyons said she is excited to start her new job at Cleveland-Cliffs, where she can put her degree to use.
“I am excited to begin the next journey of my adult life. I’m very happy and grateful that I was able to get my education and now continue on with my career,” she said.
Not only are seniors excited for the ceremony, but administrators are as well. Jackie LeViseur, the director of university events, is coordinating the ceremony. LeViseur said her favorite part of graduation ceremonies is the atmosphere.
“The joy and energy of the day [is my favorite part]. Our graduates are so happy and their family and friends are full of pride,” LeViseur said.
According to ysu.edu, YSU commencement will host speakers such as the 2022 macebearer Mary Yacovone; president of Redex Industries Inc. William Kennedy Jr.; and this year’s student speaker Kathryn Kimes. The website also gives more information on each of the speakers.
Yacovone graduated from YSU with both an associate and bachelor’s degree of science in respiratory care. In 1980, she began working at YSU as an adjunct faculty member and clinical instructor for the respiratory care program. She earned a master’s degree in education at Kent State University, and is a chairperson for the department of health professions.
Kennedy graduated from YSU in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and will also receive an honorary doctor of science degree at the ceremony. He is now the president of Redex Industries Inc; the manufacturer of Udderly Smooth Creams and Moisturizers, and he serves on the board for the CASTLO community in Struthers.
Kimes, a member of YSU’s Sokolov Honors College, is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in music education. She has been involved in multiple organizations where she has held officer positions such as YSU Saxophone Society, YSU Jazz Society and the YSU Catholic Student Association. She has played in YSU’s Jazz ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Voices of YSU and saxophone quartets. Kimes plans to be a music educator.
The ceremony will be held at the Stambaugh Stadium at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 7. LeViseur said there are about 1,600 students registered to graduate this semester.